What can I do about an employee whose been spoken to twice about bad body odor but the situation seems to just get worse?

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can I do about an employee whose been spoken to twice about bad body odor but the situation seems to just get worse?

I have now had 2 other employees bring the personal scent situation to my attention, 1 of whom says he becomes nauseous when working with this employee and seeks to avoid them (not easy to do in our small workplace). I have noticed the problem myself and am unsure what the next step should be: give this employee yet another opportunity to fix things or let them go for the sake of my other employees (as well as my customers)?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If this employee has an employment contract, you need to follow whatever the contract says about discipline, termination, etc. If there is no contract, the employee should be an employee at will, which means you can suspend or terminate him or her at any time, for any reason--including bad odor. You therefore would seem to have the option of giving him or her one more chance, or simply letting him or her go.

Note that IF the employee can someone link his or her bad body odor to a disability (or, I suppose, a religious observance), you may have to make some accomodations and might not be able to summarily terminate the employee. If the employee tries to do this, you should consult wiith an employement law attorney about how to handle.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption